Contributions to the 6th AICCM Book, Paper & Photographic Materials Symposium. 17-19th November 2010, Melbourne. p88
The mounting of parchment for display is always tricky. Parchments do not lend themselves to hinging and do not react well to moisture and adhesives. Also, the historic method of using frayed linen threads to stretch the parchment taut is highly timeconsuming. The NAA recently had to display a parchment relating to Lord Bruce in a frame and it was thought desirable to use a mounting method that did not interfere with the parchment in any way. The mounting method used was a novel one whereby the parchment was held in place using a sheet of 1mm thick flexible magnetic matting as used to make ‘fridge magnets’. In the method the parchment was laid on a sheet of galvanised steel cut to the size of the frame rebate, to protect the parchment a protective sheet of Mylar was place between the object and the metal. Next a second sheet of Mylar was place over the object, this one with a hole cut in the sheet of a suitable size to display the image area. Next the sheet of magnetic matting was laid over the object, the matting had a hole cut in it that was just larger than the one in the protective Mylar sheet. In this way the magnetic sheet was nowhere in contact with the object. Finally a window mat of mount board was placed over the top. The window was of a size to cover both the magnetic mat and the Mylar. The presence of the 1mm thick matting and a thickness of Mylar between the object and the window meant the window sat up slightly from the object but this was felt to be acceptable from a visual point of view. Prior to matting the object the magnetic matting was tested using the Photographic Activity Test (PAT) – the material passed the test. Although the PAT has been devised to determine the suitability of materials for storing photographs it could also be considered a more general test for the offgassing of volatile and reactive materials. Passing the test is therefore a strong indication that the magnetic matting is relatively benign. The method has the downside that it only works where you don’t need to show the edges of the item. Although it was used here for parchment the method could be used for any flat item that has to be window matted.